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Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Stovetop mac and cheese is the solution to your cheesy, gooey craving. Super easy and quick to make with a rich sauce, tender pasta, and only one pot to wash!

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A white bowl of macaroni and cheese with a spoon in it.

When you’re craving home cooked comfort food, creamy stovetop mac and cheese will always hit the spot. With one pot and ingredients that are already waiting for you in your kitchen, you can whip up a quick pot of creamy, cheesy no bake mac and cheese. 

This recipe super convenient when you just need to satisfy that craving, but it certainly doesn’t skimp on flavor or texture! The sauce is rich, velvety, and big on cheesy goodness.

And because it’s not baked, this stove top mac and cheese also eliminates the extra fuss when it’s time to get dinner on the table, just like my stovetop candied sweet potatoes recipe!

Ingredients needed to prepare macaroni and cheese.

How to Make Stovetop Mac and Cheese

A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.

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A saucepan with macaroni in it, ready to be boiled.

STEP ONE: Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta based on the box directions. Drain your pasta. 

Preparing a roux in a saucepan using a wooden spoon to stir.

STEP TWO: Melt butter in pan on medium low heat, then add in the flour and mix. Stir in salt and pepper until combined to make a roux. 

A cheesy roux in a saucepan, ready to mix with macaroni.

STEP THREE: Increase the heat to medium heat and gradually add in the milk. Cook until the sauce starts to thicken, usually 3-4 minutes.

Combined roux and boiled macaroni in a saucepan.

STEP FOUR: Remove from heat and add in cheddar cheese, stirring until melted. Pour in the cooked pasta and mix well to combine. Serve hot!

Closeup view of a spoon with prepared macaroni and cheese.

What to Serve With No Bake Mac and Cheese

Variations for Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

  • Add some protein. Diced rotisserie or buffalo chicken are tasty additions to this creamy stovetop mac and cheese. I’ve even added bacon like in my dutch oven mac and cheese recipe.
  • Sneak in those veggies! Steam and dice broccoli florets and stir them into the sauce.
  • Change up the cheese. Instead of traditional cheddar, add in your favorite melty alternative. Monterey Jack, Gruyere, and Fontina are popular choices.
  • Use up leftovers. Instead of simply reheating the same dish, use the extra pasta to make mac and cheese bites in the air fryer.
A fork holding a bite of macaroni and cheese.

How Do I Make Stove Top Mac and Cheese Creamy?

Creamy stovetop mac and cheese is important! Nobody wants a grainy mess. The easy way to avoid a less than stellar texture is to pick the right cheese. You need a cheese that melts well like cheddar, Monterey Jack, or mozzarella. 

Also, grate your cheese yourself. Pre-shredded cheeses usually contain anti-caking agents that affect the texture when cheese melts. 

High heat or big changes in temperature can cause your cheese to separate and be grainy. So keep your heat low and use room temperature or warmed milk when making your sauce. 

Other Pasta Recipes You’ll Love:

Zoomed in view of macaroni and cheese in a white bowl.

What is the Best Cheese for Mac n Cheese on the Stove Top?

You want a creamy, cheesy sauce for great stove top mac and cheese. The payoff for making homemade mac and cheese from scratch, instead of using a box, is big cheese flavor. 

  • Cheddar is the classic choice for mac and cheese. Sharp cheese will give you a stronger flavor, while mild cheddar will give you a milder taste. 
  • Feeling adventurous? Try Gruyere for a simple way to upgrade your mac and cheese. It melts perfectly and has a richness you’ll love. 
  • Monterey Jack, Colby, Fontina, and Mozzarella also melt exceptionally well for stovetop macaroni and cheese.

Can I Use Milk Instead of Heavy Cream in No Bake Mac and Cheese?

Absolutely! I actually created this stovetop mac and cheese recipe using milk because I don’t always have heavy cream on hand. We love mac n cheese around our house, and I need to be able to pull out one pot and make it fast with what I have in the pantry and the refrigerator. 

If you want to have a richer sauce, you can substitute heavy cream or half and half in this recipe. But be careful not to have your heat too high to prevent scorching the cream or making the sauce grainy. 

A white bowl of macaroni and cheese with a spoon in it.

More Mac and Cheese Recipes

Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Samantha Erb
Stovetop mac and cheese is the solution to your cheesy, gooey craving. Super easy and quick to make with a rich sauce, tender pasta, and only one pot to wash!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 665 kcal


  • 16 ounces pasta I used elbow noodles
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 5 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
  • 2 1/4 cups milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • Boil a pot of water and cook pasta per directions on box until al dente. Strain pasta.
  • Melt butter in pan on med/low heat. Add in flour and mix. Stir is salt and pepper until combined to make a roux.
  • Increase to medium heat. Gradually add in the milk.
  • Cook until the sauce starts to thicken, usually 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add in cheddar cheese. Stir until melted.
  • Pour in pasta and mix well to combine. 
  • Serve immediately.


Serving: 1gCalories: 665kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 25gFat: 40gSaturated Fat: 24gPolyunsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 968mgFiber: 2gSugar: 8g
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About Samantha

I’ve always had a love of cooking and creating new recipes, so it only made sense to create a food blog so I could share those recipes with you. This site is designed to provide easy and flavorful recipes with as little ingredients as possible. That means you still get great flavor combinations without all that extra time and effort. Read more...

4 thoughts on “Stovetop Mac and Cheese”

  1. What could you use instead of butter to make it low fat. I really want to make it but following slimming world!

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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